Life is good.

October 17, 2014

Life is good. No sooner had I set up my MacAlfa Romeo Monza poster mini for an afternoon’s work than I received an order from Sweden for a poster through my Etsy shop. This is another of my occupations, and in this instance it involved repacking my computer and returning home for an hour this morning to print out a large giclee print of the art deco style Alfa Romeo poster that I designed a couple of years ago. It was no hardship.

These posters are my legacy. I have little else to pass on, and I certainly do need to press on with more designs as I’ve been otherwise engaged on a long-term writing project for the last two years (more of which later, I’m sure). But last week I took a welcome break from writing and completed a design that’s been sitting on BDLC2_smallthe back burner for a very long time. It’s a second version of my Bal De La Couture poster, following on from the 1927 poster completed a few years ago, the new design is for the 1928 event, but visually following similar lines and colours. I’m very fond of these designs but I can’t say that they’re selling like hot cakes. Probably something to do with key wording, as my automobile posters sell quite well.

But I do intend to return next year to my market stall in Framlingham, which I gave up a few years ago, or perhaps more accurately it gave up on me. I think this fashion poster might do quite well in that environment. But four or five years ago sales dwindled to zero for a run of several weeks, and I could do no more than crawl home to lick my wounds. It hurt. Since then I’ve struggled to find the necessary cash to renew my market traders licence, and also I no longer have a car that I can load with the stall and stock. But next year both of those issues should be resolved and I’ll get back to those lovely social Saturdays amongst the brilliant stall holders on the hill.

I have to say that I was probably a bit ambitious with the size of postersphone photos April 2008 027 that I hung in my tiny eight foot square stall, as so many people would say, “They’re really nice, but too big for my house.” That may have been a load of rubbish, but they did look a tad large. Ho hum.

But that’s the future and today is now. For mid October the weather is tranquil and I’m off to enjoy a teatime drink with a good friend to celebrate his birthday. We’ll meet up in The White Horse, a couple of miles from here, and get a couple of pints in before I get back and cook dinner for my sweet wife. As I say, life is good.

yomping through the mist

March 15, 2012

There was quite a heavy mist when I set out this morning, but the sun was already showing signs of breaking through. There is something special about walking through the fog on an early Spring morning. The landscape makes its appearance almost reluctantly but what you can’t see you can certainly hear. The sky seems full to bursting with the sounds of Skylarks, very early in the season as I normally regard larks as the harbinger of high summer. And the woods are alive with birdsong amplified through the mist’s acoustics. Every so often signs of other wildlife appeared; a young muntjak lurking in undergrowth, the unmistakable smell of fox and the large hoof prints of a red deer recently following the same path as myself.

But by the time I reached the top of the hill at Benhall the sun had broken through and I was beginning to feel uncomfortably warm in the coat I’d chosen to keep out the morning’s cold and damp. But that was all soon forgotten as the view from up here is wonderful looking down into the Alde Valley. I approach the river through the meadow which, later in the year, will be sprouting giant puffball and parasol mushrooms, then cross the bridge through White House Farm and home. Brilliant start to the day.

ImageI have recently begun a regime of morning walks in an attempt to both kickstart the day and to lose several pounds of unsightly fatty substance that somehow seems to have accumulated, uninvited, about my midrift. The truth is that I’ve been quite neglectful of my body for some time, and whilst i can never claim to have treated my body as a temple I nonetheless rarely had weight problems in the past. But that’s all probably due to the fact that I used to be naturally active and would unthinkingly leap up stairs or ride my bike to the pub instead of drive. And there you have it in a sentence. Driving to the pub has been my downfall. And I can only partly blame that on the closure of my local which was a reasonable half mile walk away. Not exactly marathon training.

ImageHowever, a small leaf has now been turned and each morning will see me striding manfully across the beautiful Suffolk countryside calling to an imaginary dog and greeting passers by in my best ‘hail fellow well met’ cheery manner. Setting out from home I’m immediately offered a number of choices for the route to take. I usually set out northwards and then, after a mile or so,  either west via Hall Farm and take a wide circular route around the village and head home past the church, or east via Sweffling village and Dodds Wood, where I used to go beating in the winter, and back via White House Farm in the Alde Valley. Plus the many variations on those two.

And there is also a new added interest since my visit last week to London and the quite extraordinary David Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy. To say it was inspirational is rather understating it. I now view every aspect of a quite familiar landscape in a completely new perspective, and my camera is rarely left at home, as the accompanying photomontages will testfy.

Also, as the weeks progress I can see myself returning to landscape painting again. So a morning yomp of maybe four or five miles is turning out to be good for body and mind. All in all very satisfactory.

pocket money pictures

November 7, 2011

In the last day or so I’ve introduced a new string to my bow. Pocket Money Pictures is a gallery of affordable original drawings that I’ve produced recently, selling for less than £50.00 ($80.00 US) and that I’m particularly pleased with. Pocket Money Pictures website can be found here.

The drawings featured on this website evolved from sketches and master drawings created during the development of my still life paintings made over the last year or so and sold through various galleries in East Anglia and London. These paintings can be viewed here.

And the hearts came from years of drawing and painting hearts as birthday and anniversary cards and pictures for my lovely wife Maureen. Every year (more or less) I’ve produced a new design as a gift on the occasion when I couldn’t afford a proper present.

So a few weeks ago I decided that it was time to put these on the market as an affordable picture for these difficult times. I know that an original picture is a lovely thing to have on the wall but a luxury that few of us can afford. At the moment these pictures are only sold through this website. The principal reason being that galleries charge 40 or 50 per cent commission on sales, so as I’m sure you can appreciate, at these prices 50% is a massive chunk.

So here they are. Please enjoy, and do tell your friends. They will make an excellent gift.

“You can tell what God thinks of money by looking at the people He gives it to”.  My great friend and fellow artist Mike Chapman told me this line on the phone this afternoon. Mike has a lovely studio overlooking Thomas Hardy’s cottage in Dorset and works there as a sculptor. We talk about once a month to check up on what our lives are turning up, and quite often we have an excited conversation about a new commission we’re discussing with some wealthy client, and how we’ll keep each other up to speed on how negotiations are progressing. Then after a while you notice that the commission is no longer the first thing we speak about, and sometimes you start to think that maybe its slipping away.

But our conversations are always lengthy, full of excellent stories and punctuated with huge bouts of helpless laughter.

Today we talked about his website which he’s thinking of changing, and strangely enough mentioned a site similar to wordpress (in that it has templates for you to design you site around) but this is an inexpensive web design site for artists and photographers called clikpic. I said ‘strangely enough’ because this is the site I use to host my website.  Clikpic charge £35.00 per year, and its so easy to use that I’m sure even Mike will be able to upload images of his work.

Then eventually we got around to talking about a commission he was hoping to get for sculpting King Arthur’s tomb at Glastonbury Abbey. How about that for a dream job? Really big bucks, too. Mike was one of two shortlisted for the gig, and I genuinely believe his was by far the best. His King was a natural, Celtic King. A huge, wise and reflective leader of men, loosely dressed in rough homespun cloth, sitting in deep contemplation. His rival produced a graceful knight in shining armour. But it’s perhaps of little consequence now, because its looking more and more as though the project is not happening. Budget cuts, you see. Art is the last thing people are spending money on at the moment, unless its $100,000,000.00 on a Giacometti sculpture to grace the distant halls of some squillionaire who doesn’t yet have everything. You see, things are different for these people who God has chosen to burden with money. Nothing is ever enough. And it turns out to be people like me and Mike who are truly the chosen ones.

tomorrow the world!

May 26, 2010

I’m moving deeper and deeper into the Global Community. I’m rubbing virtual shoulders with my new best cyber friends.  Navigating my way fearlessly to infinity and beyond. It is an exhilarating experience akin, in many ways I’m sure, to that first bungee jump or cresta run. That leap into the unknown which will take you who knows where. Already complete strangers are turning up at my cyber door giving my work the once-over and returning admiring glances. I didn’t realise I was so popular. Oh, but please forgive this frenzy of excitement. This unseemly outburst. It’s just that I’ve started a new facebook page this morning promoting my poster website, newvintageposters.com, and a twitter page to run alongside, each enabling me to speak to the entire world as and when I wish and to claim that same entire world’s undivided attention. This is quite a responsibility, as I’m sure you can understand.

This latest adventure was , in fact, the idea of my very good friends James and Emma during a magnificently squiffy evening at their flat last night. Time flew, as it always does when I’m in their company, and suddenly it was gone eleven, well past my bedtime, and I had a headful of cyber stuff to keep and hold safe till I awoke. And I can tell you now that nobody was more surprised than me when I actually set this thing up this morning without a hiccup.

It really does represent a major adventure for me, because the possibilities seem quite limitless in terms of contacting friends of friends in this bonkers never ending network. I do not take these things for granted. And this being a social network I will be looking to discuss new ongoing projects and hopefully getting feedback from those sufficiently interested parties concerning things such as ideas for new poster designs and other stuff like tee shirts and greetings cards.

Sitting here all day in my isolated studio with only the spiders for company, it’s reassuring to know that there are people out there in the great wide world that not only care about my welfare and what I’m up to, but will also enjoy the opportunity to rubbish my work as it goes along. What’s not to like?

My points of reference in these pictures are the ancient field systems that identify the English landscape, and nature’s constant struggle to break away from these constraints. My curiosity has always been drawn to man’s relentless need to confine all that is natural and to tame all that is wild, even to the point of suppressing those same instincts in his own character. But I am enlivened by nature’s resistance to this pressure and it’s refusal to be enclosed.

I endeavour to trace a fine line between representational landscape and pure abstract painting, conforming in colour values and structure to both disciplines.

I also enjoy playing games with perspective to create a painterly image that is essentially a two dimensional arrangement of colour without the illusion of depth, and I’m particularly interested in conveying a sense of movement and stillness, discord and harmony through my colour relationships and brushwork.

The individual titles for these paintings, which I collectively call Enclosures, are drawn from the ancient field names of Suffolk that have endured for so long.

These new pictures are watercolour and pastel drawings on paper, approximately eight inches by nine inches, and are preparatory drawings for future works on canvas.